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How can you tell if your nutrition program is balanced? If you are not using soil analysis to choose fertilizers, or have not examined the status of all of the nutrients, chances are that your program is off target.

One of the common symptoms of a poor nutrition is low productivity and/or crop quality that cannot be explained. There are no pests, diseases or moisture problems, environmental conditions are good, land preparation and weed control are done properly, but the crop consistently produces below its potential. The problem could be due to nutrient problems even though no deficiency symptoms are visible.

Another related symptom is a gradual decline in yield over several years. Again, everything is being done properly, but the yields are not even close to what they were when the land was first cultivated.

If this decline occurs with only one crop or one family of crops, it may be due to a buildup of some soil-borne pest or disease. If most crops perform poorly in that field, then there you should re-evaluate your nutrition program.

Unusual pest and disease problems are another symptom of imbalanced nutrition. If your field is especially susceptible to pests and diseases or you are experiencing outbreaks of infections that normally should not affect that crop, your plants may be under stress. You should have the situation evaluated by professional crop protection personnel, but remember that nutrient stress is a major cause of this type of problem.

Soil analysis (and sometimes plant tissue analysis) by a competent laboratory that produces accurate analytical and interpretive data is the fastest and most economical way of getting your fertility program on track.

Symptoms of imbalanced nutrition